Art & Culture History

Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati

  • PM launched celebrations marking Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati’s 200th birthday.
  • Dayanand Saraswati (born Mool Shankar Tiwari) was a religious leader and the founder of the Arya Samaj, a nineteenth-century reform movement.
  • He was an expert in Vedic lore and the Sanskrit language.
  • Dayanand was a great scholar who knew the Vedas and Upanishads inside and out.
  • He also had knowledge of Sanskrit grammar, philosophy, religion, politics, and other sciences.

Notable works

(1) Literary works

  • He wrote several books, including the Satyarth Prakash, which became the Arya Samaj’s moral and spiritual foundation.
  • Many languages, including Hindi, English, and Urdu, have been translated into this book.

(2) Freedom movement

  • In 1876, he was the first to call for Swaraj as “Indian for India,” a call later taken up by Lokmanya Tilak.
  • S. Radhakrishnan, India’s philosopher and President, later referred to him as one of the “makers of Modern India,” as did Sri Aurobindo.

(3) Religious reform

  • He worked to revive Vedic ideologies while condemning the idolatry and ritualistic worship prevalent in Hinduism at the time.
  • He believed that the Vedas should be interpreted using logic rather than blind faith.
  • He also advocated against animal sacrifice and idol worship.

(4) Social reform

  • Dayanand was a strong supporter of women’s rights.
  • He advocated for the abolition of the caste system and believed in the equality of all human beings.

(5) Education

  • Dayanand was a firm believer in the power of education and knowledge.
  • He established the Gurukul educational system, which provided free education to all, regardless of caste or gender.
  • Based on his teachings, the first DAV School was established in Lahore in 1885, which was later upgraded to become the first DAV College.
  • The DAV College Trust and Management Society was formed and registered in 1886.
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